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Age: 49 Hometown: Oakland, Calif. Occupation: Ward 5 councilman, attorney, and certified public accountant Claim to fame: two-term member on D.C. Council
MP3 Audio: Vincent Orange discusses whether or not D.C. really has a crime emergency.
VISION For me it’s connecting the three E’s; that’s my motto. Connecting education to employment to economic development and providing an opportunity for us to have access to health care, affordable housing, and a better quality of life. That’s a big challenge for the next mayor. The buck will stop with me on education and public safety. EDUCATION I favor executive control over the school system. In fact, Mayor Williams and I led the battle for the school-governance piece [of legislation that would have put the D.C. school board under the mayor's control]. We were one vote short, and that’s where I differ with Ms. Cropp and Mr. Fenty, because they were on the other side. Now all of a sudden it’s election season and they’re trying to get closer to where I am. But it’s like you’re either pregnant or you’re not. It’s gotten to the point where there needs to be one person in charge of the school system. Someone has to be held accountable. The superintendent has to be a part of the Cabinet and at every weekly meeting. A reason I want to be mayor is the power of the office. If you have the mayor every day talking about education and going to schools, you can whip people into shape. Ms. Cropp has been here for 30 years, and she just now has a dream that our children will read, and she still doesn’t have a strong educational agenda. AFFORDABLE HOUSING The problem we have in the District of Columbia is that we’re losing our middle class. It all comes back to affordable housing. If we solve our educational problems, then you won’t even be able to get a home in the District of Columbia. From my view, people are tired of commuting, sitting on that Beltway. You can have a better quality of life if you can get to work in 10 minutes. Most people will tell you affordable housing is 80 percent of the area median income. But 80 percent is not going to get a teacher or policeman a home. So I think we have to bring it down to 30, 40, or 50 percent. BASEBALL The business community were the ones who requested baseball. The mayor picked up the mantle. I tried to see what I could get for the citizens of the city. We came up with the Community Benefit Fund. Many of my colleagues tried to kill the deal. I put an amendment in to get money — $125 million for schools, $45 million for our libraries, and another $2 million to buy laptops. That’s what I was able to get for the citizens. Mr. [Theodore] Lerner [real estate developer and majority Nationals owner] has a different view for this stadium. It’s going to take strong leadership from the mayor. He wants above-ground parking. Now there’s always going to be compromise, but we need someone to stand up. CRIME EMERGENCY We’re all aware of the loss of life in Georgetown several weeks ago. Two weeks prior, those same criminals robbed a young lady, took her credit card, and purchased items and had them sent to their home. Now what kind of education level do you think they had? Now we can talk about crime, about putting more police officers on the streets — that helps. But we also got to get to the root of the problem and start educating our children, tying them into jobs. I think we’ve had a crime emergency for several years, and it’s unfortunate the mayor and Ms. Cropp are just now beginning to recognize that. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT All our vocational schools are closed today, yet we have all this development taking place. We’re gonna need electricians, carpenters, and plumbers — not everyone goes to college. But with our vocational schools closed, we’re not going to get those skills here; they’re going to come from elsewhere. In fact, we have 674,000 salary wage jobs in the District of Columbia and only 200,000 jobs with D.C. residents. The problem with that is, we can’t tax the source, so you’re going to end up supporting the suburbs. And then you have this crime because you have folks east of the river — Ward 8 has 21 percent unemployment; Ward 7 has 13 percent unemployment — they begin to say, “Hey, this isn’t right; you’re not bringing me into the equation.” And now they’re going west of the park and down onto the Mall, increasing criminal activity. • Visit Vincent Orange’s campaign Web site

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